Last spring, a group of students decided that they wanted to build something new and exciting in the Handlebar. Different ideas were tossed around, but we eventually settled on building a bike blender.
What is a bike blender, you ask?
It’s just what you would expect – a blender that works by pedaling a bike. In our case, we have two of these blenders: a mountain bike that was originally going to be a Green Bike and a stationary bike that was donated to the Handlebar in order to be a back-up blender.
The rotating of the bike wheel causes a second skateboard wheel to rotate. This skateboard wheel has a rod going through it that is welded to the blades of the blender. When the skateboard wheel rotates, the metal rod causes the blender blades to rotate, which blends whatever ingredients we put in the blender. While we modeled our design off of other bike blenders we had seen online, we had no instructions to go off of, and we mainly used parts already on hand in the Handlebar.
While we were initially apprehensive about blending anything (what if we broke the bikes we had put so much time into?), we found that our blenders were extremely efficient. In under 60 seconds, we could blend a 12oz smoothie out of frozen berries, yogurt, a banana, and apple juice. After some calculations, we found that our blenders could run at around 40,000rpms if we tried (but we tend to have people run it at a lower speed so that we don’t damage the bike or blender). Compare this to a regular blender, which runs at around 10,000 to 15,000rpms.
Our blenders have been a huge hit at events like Campus Sustainability Day, EarthFest, and the Family/Homecoming Weekend Picnic. We also are looking to rent out the bikes to groups that would like to use the blenders at their own events.
Keep an eye out for the the Bike Blenders in the future! We promise they’re delicious!